Eating locally and seasonally is easy in the spring, summer, and fall.  We are blessed to be surrounded by farms and bays that provide us with a tremendous bounty.  That first, fresh spear of asparagus signals spring and there’s nothing like a juicy, red tomato plucked from the vine in the middle of the summer.  But in the winter, the farmer’s market may not be our first thought for food shopping.  With a limited number of things surviving our seasonal climate and the demand lowered, the selection is admittedly reduced.  This makes it an even more important time to support your local farmer.

Luckily, there are local farmer’s markets that are open year round, providing a surprisingly numerous variety.  The Camden Ave Market, by Salisbury University, is open Tuesdays year round from 2:30-5:30 pm.  When I went this week, there were two separate organic farms with winter squashes, turnips, leeks, onions, kale, and carrots, just to name a few.  There was a waterman with local oysters and someone selling fresh smoked salmon. Another man had homemade bread.
If you, like me, have already run out of summer veggies that you stocked away for the off-season, this is a great way to find local, seasonal produce.  It is typically less expensive, more nutritious (picked closer to consumption), and tastes better.  Plus you get to talk to the people that grew it and support local farmers and artisans while doing so – how cool is that?

Shopping in this way creates a connection to your food that is lost in a corporate retailer. The farmer’s market in Berlin is open Friday’s year round.  There are also places like How Sweet It Is in Eden, MD and OC Organics in Ocean City that supply a selection of local, seasonal produce and seafood all of the time and offer an indoor shopping experience.

A few weeks ago, I had picked up some fresh, local Chincoteague Bay oysters.  Since my boyfriend will only eat them cooked, I decided to make fried oysters.  In keeping with the theme, I created a batter with some Andre Champagne (only the best for my man).  With some hand cut, oven baked sweet potato fries and an Old Bay dipping sauce this made for an admittedly indulgent dinner, but was a big hit.  Fried, seasonal, local, and delicious; what more could you want?

With year-round local farmer’s markets, there is no need to sacrifice local, seasonal produce and products during the winter months.  Support your local farmers year-round.
Look for the Fried Oysters and Old Bay Dipping sauce recipies (along with many others), in the Shorebread Bread Box!